When it comes to deer hunting, America enjoys a far and wide recognition. This is linked to the huge deer populations around the country. Yes, you’ll find deer populations on almost every corner of this great nation. But which are the 10 best deer hunting states to hunt deer in America?
Are you wondering too?
A few weeks ago, we set out to discover the best places in the US where you can enjoy hunting the whitetail deer again and again. To give you the best results, we took into considerations many factors – such as the number of bucks harvested, hunters success rates, the prevailing weather conditions, age factor of the hunted bucks, and even the hunting pressure.
Coupled with reliable sources and the diverse experiences and opinions from expert hunters from various states, we compiled a list of the ten best deer hunting states in America.
And today, we’re glad to introduce to you these top-ranked states for deer chasing…
Here are The TOP 10 Best Deer Hunting States in America:
NOTE: The list below does not follow any particular order…
Surprised to see Georgia on our list? We expected this reaction from you given that little is known of Georgia in the deer hunting world. Good news is that the quality of deer hunting here has been on the rise over the years. While it may be almost impossible to tag a Booner in this state compared to the others, the overall deer harvest statistics are incredibly high. What’s more age structure of the hunted bucks is healthy, and the deer density is above average. Also keep in mind that around 3% of the state’s land is open for public hunting. All this wins Georgia a place in our post.
Failing to mention Iowa as a top hunting state will make this list a big joke to all hunters. Iowa is the state that boasts of vast hunting grounds open for the public hunting. You’ll agree with us that 266,000 acres are a big land for public hunting. And this will help you avoid the state’s huge license rates for non-residents.
It’s also interesting to note that between 2005 and 2010, only 2 states enjoyed more B&C entries other than Iowa. Iowa guarantees you 0.078% chance of bagging a Booner.
For you to hunt in Iowa, you need to apply first and pray that you’re drawn. The non-resident hunting licenses not only come with huge fees, but they also restrict you to specific areas.
Moving on to our third best deer hunting state, we have Texas. Texas holds large deer populations (and an equal number of hunters). The hunters in Lone Star State take down more bucks yearly than in the other areas by a huge gap – imagine 309,207 bucks bagged in 2011 alone? And 60% of the bucks were 31/2 (or more) years old? Hunting in Texas is actually great.
Also, note that the state came at number 2 in the antlerless harvest statistics and appeared as the 10th Boone and Crockett entries (with 132) between years 2005 and 2010. If you couple these factors with the vast public hunting land in Texas (almost 1.6 acres), you’ll agree with us that Texas is a top hunting destination for every hunter.
Illinois features on our list since it showed impressive scores in a few categories, unlike the other states which had a high score in only one or two categories. The state recorded up to 299 bucks in the Boone and Crockett books between 2005 and 2010, becoming the second best.
Antlerless harvest here is also encouraging (over 100,000 annually), plus the pressure is quite high but not to the level of other states. The size of public hunting grounds is reasonable, and trophy production in Illinois is excellent.
So, if you get the opportunity to hunt in Illinois, just do it, and you’ll be happy you did it.
If you fancy big city nightlife and overwhelming deer hunting in all possible directions, head on to Missouri. The place is a rising star in the outdoor world – and the several TV shows that has sprung from the area in the recent years is enough evidence.
But that’s not all. The trophy potential is BIG, enormous tracts of land for public hunting available, and the pressure is quite reasonable (to be precise: 8.3 hunters/square mile). With 38% of the bucks killed having an age of 31/2 plus years of age, the deer heard in the state have, indeed a healthy age factor.
Planning to go Midwest for the next deer hunting season? Don’t overlook Missouri.
Another Midwest state? True, Indiana is another place in the US where you’ll have a wonderful time hunting the deer. Compared to all the other states, Indian will grant you a 0.084% chance of harvesting that Booner. Over the past 10 years, the state has also been featured on the top 10 for the total B&C entries. And despite the average hunting pressure there, you’ll still enjoy a 50% success rate. Combining all this with the respectable parts of public hunting grounds makes Indiana another great Midwest hunting spot for every hunter.
With a deer population of up to 1.8 million, you can never go wrong with deer hunting in Mississippi. And don’t be fooled into thinking that state does not offer you the big bucks; the position 7 B&C all-time non-typical was taken in 1997. Since then, this state continues to produce monster bucks every new year.
Other statistics show that the Magnolia state ranks 1st in the percentage of the killed bucks having a good age structure – 31/2 years, second in the percentage of bucks harvested yearling, and fifth in the number of bucks hunted/square mile.
From this information, it’s evident that your chance of bagging a good buck can’t be better in any other state.
For many years, Kentucky has appeared among the best-kept deer hunting world secret. The Bluegrass state has what every deer hunter would probably dream of: long deer seasons, friendly hunter regulations, huge, healthy and balanced deer herd, and reasonable pressure. In Kentucky, you will also enjoy huge public hunting lands that are trophy-potential.
The state ranks second to Indiana only (i.e. 0.082%) when it comes to the chances of harvesting a Booner.
Are you still looking for more information on why Kentucky is a top deer hunting state?
Statistics indicate that over 1.2 million deer herds are present in Wisconsin. The public hunting grounds in the same state add up to over 6 million acres. Isn’t this an exciting proposition for all hunters? As you go to this state to chase the deer, bring your backpack with you and be ready to spend several nights in the wilderness. Or you can lease the hunting lot (or join outfitted hunt) at a fee. But note that the pricing is quite high for one good reason: The Wisconsin deer hunters killed around 2,088 bucks – registered by the Pope and Young – in the last 5 years.
#10. South Carolina
One more top-ranked deer hunting state in America…The Palmetto state closes our roundup of the best states for some pretty good reasons. In a report published by “Quality Deer Management (QDM) Associations”- The 2013 Whitetail Report- South Carolina ranked 1st nationally in the number of bucks killed per square mile (that is, 3.6 bucks/square mile). The report also indicated that 70% of the state’s hunters recorded a fruitful harvest.
The chances of getting a monster buck might be scarce, but the probability of having a good time and tagging a good buck are incredibly high
Now you have it; the 10 BEST states where your deer hunting success is high. All the statistics used in this post comes from trustworthy sources, and will help you determine the right state that meets your deer hunting needs and expectations. These sources include the “Boone and Crocket Club”, “Whitetail Scale”, “Backcountry Chronicles”, and the “Quality Deer Management Associations Whitetail Report”.
Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!